Organic and inorganic selenium: II. transfer efficiency from ewes to lambs

W. C. Stewart, G. Bobe, W. R. Vorachek, G. J. Pirelli, W. D. Mosher, T. Nichols, Robert John Vansaun, N. E. Forsberg, J. A. Hall

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27 Scopus citations


Adequate Se transfer from ewes to lambs is important to prevent Se-deficiency diseases. To evaluate how different chemical forms of Se administered at comparative dosages to mature ewes affect Se status of their lambs, 240 ewes were divided into 8 treatment groups (n = 30 each) and drenched weekly (at an amount equal to their summed daily intake) with no-Se (controls); at recommended amounts (4.9 mg of Se/wk) with inorganic Na-selenite, inorganic Na-selenate, or organic Se-yeast; or at supranutritional amounts (14.7 and 24.5 mg of Se/wk) with Na-selenite or Se-yeast for 1 yr. Weekly drenching of Se was effective at increasing (P < 0.002) Se concentrations in ewe colostrum and milk at 30 d of lactation and in improving (P < 0.001) the Se status of lambs (whole-blood and serum-Se concentrations at birth, and skeletal-muscle Se concentrations at 14 d of age). Selenium concentrations in lacteal secretions were greater in ewes drenched with Se-yeast (colostrum: 374, 436, and 982 ng/mL at 4.9, 14.7, and 24.5 mg of Se/wk, respectively; milk: 26, 39, 64 ng/mL) compared with ewes drenched with Naselenite (colostrum: 204, 334, 428 ng/mL; milk: 16, 21, 24 ng/mL), and were also greater (P < 0.001) in their lambs. Selenium concentrations continued to increase (P < 0.001) in lamb whole blood (558 and 695 ng/ mL at 14.7 and 24.5 mg of Se/wk, respectively), serum (126, 183 ng/mL), and skeletal muscle (991, 1,696 ng/ mL) with supranutritional concentrations of Se-yeast, whereas Se concentrations did not differ in whole blood (304, 332 ng/mL), serum (77, 85 ng/mL), or skeletal muscle (442, 482 ng/mg) of lambs from ewes drenched with 14.7 or 24.5 mg of Se/wk of Na-selenite. We conclude that weekly oral drenching of ewes during gestation and lactation with organic Se-yeast results in a more efficient transfer of Se (over a wide range of supplementation rates) from ewe to lamb than does inorganic Na-selenite.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)577-584
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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